Queensland has seen a rapid rise in clearing rates in the last few years..
Current clearing rates are at the highest rate they have been for many years. Official figures indicate that land clearing rates in Queensland have risen from a low point of 78000ha in 2009/10 to 296000ha in 2013/14. After a period of decline, this rapid rise in clearing in the last few years can be attributed to changes to laws and regulations by the LNP government.
Changes to land clearing laws allowed for a lot more clearing.
The Newman government ‘took the axe to Queensland’s tree clearing laws’ (their own words), which allowed the clearing of areas that were previously protected. Furthermore, they: reversed the ban on broad-scale clearing; removed protections on ecologically important, rehabilitated woodlands; and reduced the enforcement of regulation and monitoring of land clearing. As a result, the rates of land clearing increased dramatically, giving Queensland the dubious honour for the worst deforestation rates in Australia.
Following community pressure and the incredible work of environmental organisations, the Labor party (during the 2017 Queensland State Election) promised to make the strongest-ever laws to end deforestation in Queensland. Now that they've been elected, we need to keep the pressure up to ensure they follow through on this promise.